Thursday, 5 August 2010 12:00 AM
Cruise holidays are making a mass comeback. Gone are the days when all they offered was lazy nautical luxury and a brief glimpse of a few overpopulated ports.
Today there is an endless array of cruise holiday options available, and more and more British travellers are looking to take advantage of the unique opportunities a cruise holiday can provide.
Here Travelbite.co.uk takes a look at the top five best cruise holiday types, and there really is something for everyone:
Best family cruise holiday
Far from the tacky imagery it may conjure, Disney Cruises family cruise holidays offer a wide range of destinations and experiences, as well as a crew dedicated to ensuring the whole family can enjoy the ride.
If you're worried about the kids getting cabin fever on a restrictive cruise, then don't be. Disney's tailormade family cruises include a wide range of kids clubs, from specially themed nurseries and workshops geared towards fun and learning, right the way up to teen-only discos, arcades and live entertainment.
For adults, Disney's cruises offer the usual luxury trappings, including a choice of swimming pools, casinos, and a selection of restaurants, lounges and cocktail bars, all brimming with vast entertainment programmes.
Best adventure cruise holiday
Most cruises aren't actually about travelling at all. They usually offer an exquisite floating palace from which you can relax and watch the world pass by.
But for those looking to get a little more out of their cruise holiday, an adventure cruise can offer you the excitement of exploration, a real taste of the cultures you encounter, and daring excursions and activities sure to get your heart racing. This niche enables you to take on the world, instead of hiding from it, all with the comfort of knowing you can relax at the end of the day in cruise liner luxury.
Steppes Discovery is a conservation travel company aimed at offering you exceptional wildlife and wilderness holidays, where discovery and exploration is key.
Any trip up the Amazon sounds exotic, but in truth many cruises ships merely navigate its lower reaches each year. Steppes Discovery's 18-passenger Tucano goes further, taking passengers deep into the wilderness, tackling the Rio Negro and Rio Jauaperi to see monkeys, birds and pink river dolphins, as well as visiting forest villages and after-dark walking safaris.
Best luxury cruise holiday
Although you will probably expect a degree of luxury from any cruise holiday you embark upon, some are inevitably more luxurious than others.
Most modern liners can accommodate 1,000-plus guests, housing a choice of restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and swimming pools. Few however boast four pools, two surf simulators, two rock-climbing walls, full-sized sports courts, a two-storey shopping arcade, and room for over 5,000 guests. Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is the world's largest cruise liner, and arguably the most opulent.
Stay in a plush New York loft-style apartment, stroll around the themed 'Central Park' zone, complete with merry-go-round, choose from one of 15 restaurants to dine, then top off the day with some ice skating or a show at the 1,380-seat theatre.
Best historical and cultural cruises
A relatively recent development in the international cruise industry, the cultural cruise holiday has taken off as the perfect compromise for the curious traveller who wants to be immersed in the places they visit.
While many, many different types of cultural cruise are available, from Aztec trails to the legendary Machu Picchu, to the rich banks of the Nile and musical pilgrimages through the Mediterranean, here we could only pick one.
Perhaps not a name you would associate with exciting exploration, SAGA holidays offer some of the most culturally rich and unorthodox cruise holidays around. Their Russian and Ukrainian waterways options are a good example of this. You can discover the famed architecture of St Petersburg, and contrast Russia's ornate cities with the elegance of Ukraine's remote monasteries, mountain villages and scenic heartland.
Off the beaten track cruises
For those who want to go off the beaten track and explore those corners of the globe most people never get to see, the ultimate cruise destination has to be Antarctica. But you must keep in mind the ecological impact some cruise companies have on the region.
How about venturing onshore in small numbers to enjoy unforgettable walks surrounded by snow-capped peaks, giant tabular icebergs and crystal-blue seas, as well getting the chance to enjoy whale watching and walking among penguin rookeries and seal colonies - all in the company of world-class naturalists?
Well, World Expeditions offer exactly that. Their Antarctic Explore cruise enables guests to immerse themselves in remote wildlife and dramatic landscapes, all with an environmentally responsible approach to ensure passengers are able to enjoy the wonders of the world's most pristine environment without the ecological guilt that often comes with international travel.
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